SPORTS

Argentinean star set for deal

Expected to sign a deal with Greek champions Olympiakos today, the 24-year-old Argentine midfielder Fernando Belluschi, who has represented his country at senior level twice, comes as the latest indication of the domestic league’s improving stature on the international transfer market. The overwhelming majority of imported soccer players in Greece are either unknowns or stars in the twilight of their careers. «It’s the dream of every soccer player to play in Europe. This was also my dream. I hope all goes as well as it did at River Plate,» said Belluschi, referring to his previous club where he scored 13 goals in 48 appearances over the past two years. «I’m expecting a lot from myself and feel a strong desire to play. There’s lots of potential in Greece. I feel very glad about this move,» he continued. Olympiakos technical director Ilia Ivic said the club would acquire a 50 percent stake in the Argentine, with the other half remaining with the player’s manager, in a four-and-a-half year deal. Belluschi underwent medical checks yesterday, but certain contract details, which Olympiakos officials believe will not delay the deal’s completion today, remained unresolved. Through to the Champions League’s Round of 16 where it will meet English powerhouse Chelsea in February for a place in the quarterfinals, Olympiakos is also negotiating with another Argentine, Sergio Almiron, a 27-year-old midfielder at Italian club Juventus, where he has struggled to get games since joining last year. Like Belluschi, Almiron started his career at Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina. Olympiakos, which moved to top spot in the Greek Super League over the weekend, hosts second-placed archrival Panathinaikos, a point behind, this Sunday. The clubs meet again three days later, also at Olympiakos’s Karaiskaki Stadium, in the Greek Cup’s fifth round, which leads to the quarterfinals. In other transfer news, 28-year-old Brazilian striker Fonseca, the captain at second-division Brazilian club Porto Alegre, arrived in Thessaloniki yesterday to sign a two-year deal with Iraklis. Late last night, Aris was expecting to finalize a deal with 33-year-old Brazilian striker Marcio Amoroso.